Senior Leads Arbor Prep to New Heights

March 19, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – Ypsilanti Arbor Prep finished its fifth season of high school girls basketball Saturday. Nastassja Chambers finished her fourth season on the varsity.

That makes her the first star in the program’s young history – and one that will be remembered for years to come thanks to the Class C championship she helped the Gators earn in her final high school game.

Chambers scored 14 points to go with three assists and three steals, and 10 of those points came as Arbor Prep put Traverse City St. Francis nearly out of contention during the first half on the way to a 53-37 title game win at the Breslin Center. 

Arbor Prep opened for the 2011-12 school year, and was first eligible for MHSAA Tournament play in 2012-13. Chambers has been part of the team for all of its postseason games, including two straight trips to Finals weekend, and for a combined run of 86 wins and only 15 losses.

“She’s someone to look up to, because no matter how much pain or how tired she is, she works hard,” Arbor Prep junior Adrienne Anderson said. “And that’s what she pushes us to do. And because she pushes herself, she’s in the position she’s in today. It’s an example that we want to follow.”

Arbor Prep (25-2) finished its final opponent this season the way it’s taken on a schedule loaded with top Class A and B programs all winter. 

The top-ranked Gators jumped out to a 9-0 lead, and after allowing the Gladiators to get back within three by the end of the first quarter, took off again to carry a 25-18 lead into halftime.

“We knew we had to come after them. We’re normally the team that always gets the lead, so we knew if we came out hard we could maintain the lead, and that would have them on their toes,” Chambers said. “And we knew once they called that timeout (with Arbor Prep up 4-0), we knew we had gotten in their heads."

The teams played almost evenly during the third quarter, with Arbor Prep taking a nine-point lead into the fourth – where the Gators turned on the jets again and changed up defenses a few times as they pushed the lead to as large as 18.

Arbor Prep took advantage of 29 St. Francis turnovers, scoring 33 points off takeaways, and had 16 fastbreak points to the Gladiators’ zero.

“I was worried early in the game, but I thought we’d adjust. They never let us. We never got in a rhythm. We never got in a routine,” St. Francis coach Keith Haske said. “Obviously that’s the best team we’ve seen this year. We got them a few times on the press, but obviously not enough to make a difference.

“Just watching them against Ithaca (in the Semifinal), they are just a little bit quicker than what we’re used to seeing. They’ve got more quick kids than I ever want to see in my life again. Usually when they have one or two quick kids, it’s OK. They’d take out three more, and three more came in.” 

Junior Cydney Williams added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Arbor Prep, which spread the scoring among seven players – with Chambers the only senior. Her contributions were not lost on the Gators once the championship ride was done. The 5-foot-8 guard will continue her career next season at Wayne State University and averaged a team-high 11.2 points per game heading into the week.

“These last two games she led us in scoring, but previous games in the state tournament she didn’t always lead us in scoring. She’s grown as a player, understanding you don’t have to lead us in scoring to be a good player, and I think that’s the biggest thing she got out of this season,” Arbor Prep coach Rod Wells said.

“She’s’ always helped push us to our greatest potential, and when we’re down she helps pick us all back up,” Williams added. “She’ll always be there with a smile to help you move along.”

St. Francis, which played in its first MHSAA championship game and suffered its first loss since the second game of the season, also will say good-bye to only two seniors who played significant minutes Saturday – although they were the leading scorers.

Forward Annie Lyman had 15 points and center Lauren McDonnell had 10 points and six rebounds. Junior forward Juliana Phillips, a standout in the Semifinal, added nine points and 10 rebounds.

The Gladiators finished 26-2 and entered the postseason tied for No. 3 in The Associated Press' rankings.

“I’m just so proud of our team and what we accomplished this year together,” Phillips said. “We just love each other a lot. … This moment is as far as you can make it in a season. We’re all pretty sad it’s over, but super proud of what we did.”

Click for the full box score.

The Girls Basketball Finals are presented by Sparrow Health System.

PHOTOS: (Top) Ypsilanti Arbor Prep players celebrate the first MHSAA championship in their school’s history. (Middle) The Gators’ Ro’zhane Wells drives to the basket with a pair of St. Francis defenders moving to clog the lane.

Jahfetson Makes History from 3-Point Range in Taking Baraga to 2023 Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 23, 2024

Baraga’s Corina Jahfetson graduated in 2023 as one of the most accomplished 3-point shooters in MHSAA history and coming off one of the most impressive single seasons from beyond the arc.

Her 103 3-pointers as a senior over 29 games were the second-most for one season and included eight in a Quarterfinal win over Mackinaw City – the second-most in an MHSAA Quarterfinal, Semifinal or Final.

She finished with 236 3-pointers over 96 games and four seasons, ranking 12th on that career list, and Baraga finished the season as Division 4 runner-up. She’s continuing her career at Northern Michigan.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA girls basketball record book, and click the heading to view the record book in full.

Girls Basketball

Alma junior Bailey Walkington earned her school’s first single-season individual record book entry for girls basketball in 2022-23. She made the steals list with 143 over 23 games.

Dalton DeBoer became the latest Midland Dow long-range shooting ace to make the records after she drained 70 of 206 3-point attempts over 24 games in 2022-23. DeBoer is a junior this school year.

Durand senior Jordyn Lawrence earned her school’s first girls basketball individual record book entry with 15 steals in her team’s 44-31 win over Flint Kearsley on Dec. 2, 2022. She’s continuing at Mid-Michigan College.

Leah French finished her Engadine career in 2023 with a series of game, season and career record book entries detailing her scoring and defensive skills. She earned single-game listings for 54 points and 19 free throws against St. Ignace on Feb. 6, 2023, and nine 3-pointers against Manistique that Jan. 9. She made the single-season list with 81 3-pointers, 177 free throws and 168 steals over 25 games as a senior. And she made the career lists with 171 3-pointers, 354 free throws and 405 steals over 85 games and four seasons. She’s continuing her career at Aquinas College.

Arieonna Ware earned Battle Creek Central's first girls basketball record book entry with 51 points in a Feb. 11, 2020, win over Portage Northern. She actually finished with a triple-double, adding 12 rebounds and 12 steals. Ware also was added for 47 points in a March 6, 2019, District game against Sturgis.

Mesick senior Kayla McCoy made the MHSAA record in 2022-23 as a junior, totaling 144 steals over 23 games. It was Mesick’s first individual entry in the girls basketball record book.

Coldwater’s Carlee Crabtree made a career-high 52 3-pointers during her senior season of 2019-20 on the way to making the MHSAA career list for long-distance shots with 163, in 469 attempts, over four seasons and 88 games total. She went on to play at Central Michigan and Hope College.

Battle Creek Pennfield’s Kaylee Glidden capped her three-year varsity career in 2023 among the most accurate free-throw shooters in MHSAA history – and also among top 3-point aces. She made 90.6 percent of her free-throw attempts as a senior, good for fifth-highest percentage all-time for one season, and her 84.4-percent success rate ranks fourth on the career list. She also made the single-season 3-pointers list with 67 that winter and the career list with 168. She continued at Kellogg Community College and has committed to Great Lakes Christian College.

Larissa Huffman made a pair of career lists upon completing her four-year varsity career in 2023 at Mackinaw City. She was added for 468 assists and 411 steals, both over 92 games, and she’s continuing her career at St. Norbert (Wis.). Additionally, Mackinaw City was added to the single-game field goals list as a team for making at least 39 in a game six times over the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, with a high of 45.

Lansing Christian earned a listing on the team 3-pointers list when it sank 14 on 32 attempts against Webberville on Jan. 20, 2023. Seven players drained at least one of the long-distance shots.  

Grayling’s 66-49 win over Houghton Lake on Dec. 19 included one of the most impressive defensive performances of all-time as senior Makayla Watkins had 19 steals – tying for third-most in one game.

Brooklyn Columbia Central’s Zoandria Bamm grabbed 28 rebounds during a Feb. 14, 2023, game against Clinton to make the single-game list in that category and on the way to finishing her senior season with 380 rebounds over 25 games – tying for 13th most on that list. She’s playing at Jackson College.

Riley Abney became the first player to be listed for points scored in a quarter of a girls basketball game when she sank 21 of her 36 total during the fourth quarter of a 64-47 loss to Linden on Jan. 16. The Ortonville Brandon senior has committed to be a preferred walk-on at Oakland.

A pair of Paw Paw standouts earned single-game accomplishments within three days of each other in January. On Jan. 26 against Sturgis, junior AJ Rickli grabbed 31 rebounds, tied for seventh-most for one game. On Jan. 29 against Three Rivers, sophomore Stella Shaefer made the single-game assists list with 14.

Keira Maki joined the single-game points list on Feb. 22 when she scored 47 in Escanaba’s 64-49 win over Sault Ste. Marie. The senior will continue at Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

PHOTO Baraga’s Corina Jahfetson (22) brings the ball upcourt during the 2023 Division 4 Final against Glen Lake at Breslin Center.